Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered candid advice to President-elect Donald Trump Tuesday, encouraging him to “do what is rational, not what is irrational.”
Panetta was asked about Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the state of terrorism.
“He said a lot of crazy things during the campaign. I mean, you know, very frankly, at the time he said those things a lot of us thought that he was totally off-base,” Panetta said. “We are not going to get rid of NATO, we’re not going to suddenly distribute or help nuclear weapons be distributed in Japan or North Korea, or any place else. We’re not going to start waterboarding again and there were just a number of things that were said that were not in line with what this country is all about,” Panetta said.
Panetta is well known figure in Democratic Party politics and on the national stage. He was first elected to Congress in 1976 and later served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. Under President Barack Obama, Panetta served as the CIA director and secretary of defense.
Panetta was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Though Panetta often had sharp criticism for Trump, he observed a change in the President-elect.
“He’s already indicated on Obamacare there are elements that he would keep. He’s indicated that he wants to support NATO. He’s beginning to understand again the responsibilities,” Panetta said.